Genetic variation and differentiation of the trans-Palearctic species Apodemus agrarius (striped field mouse), whose range consists of two large isolates—European-Siberian and Far Eastern-Chinese, were examined using RAPD-PCR analysis. The material from the both parts of the range was examined (41 individual of A. agrarius from 18 localities of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kazakhstan); the Far Eastern-Chinese part was represented by samples from the Amur region, Khabarovsk krai, and Primorye (Russia). Differences in frequencies of polymorphic RAPD loci were found between the European-Siberian and the Far Eastern population groups of striped field mouse. No “fixed” differences between them in RAPD spectra were found, and none of the used statistical methods permitted to distinguish with absolute certainty animals from the two range parts. Thus, genetic isolation of the European-Siberian and the Far Eastern population groups of A. agrarius is not strict. These results support the hypothesis on recent dispersal of striped field mouse from East to West Palearctics (during the Holocene climatic optimum, 7000 to 4500 years ago) and subsequent disjunction of the species range (not earlier than 4000–4500 years ago). The Far Eastern population group is more polymorphic than the European-Siberian one, while genetic heterogeneity is more uniformly distributed within it. This is probably explained by both historical events that happened during the species dispersal in the past, and different environmental conditions for the species in different parts of its range. The Far Eastern population group inhabits the area close to the distribution center of A. agrarius. It is likely that this group preserved genetic variation of the formerly integral ancestral form, while some amount of genetic polymorphism could be lost during the species colonization of the Siberian and European areas. To date, the settlement density and population number in general are higher than within the European-Siberian isolate, which seems to account for closer interpopulation associations, intense genetic exchange, and “smoothing” of polymorphism within the Far Eastern population group of A. agrarius.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 28, 2007
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